Responsible Sourcing

A cornerstone of a sustainable European feed industry is assuring that all feed ingredients are produced in a safe and responsible way. FEFAC has undertaken pre-competitive action in the field of responsible soy sourcing and is starting the process of defining sustainability roadmaps for other feed ingredients as well. In August 2015, FEFAC published the first version of the European feed industry Soy Sourcing Guidelines, setting 59 baseline criteria (37 essential and 22 desirable), accompanied by verification requirements. Through a customized self-assessment tool, based on the Standards Map infrastructure, responsible soy programme owners are able to self-assess their compliance with the Guidelines and apply for a formal benchmark performed independently by ITC (the International Trade Center).

The FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines are a professional recommendation to operators in the European feed industry who wish to purchase soy that is considered to be responsibly produced. The Guidelines consist of a set of minimum requirements related to the good environmental, social and agricultural practices of soy production. The responsible soy programmes that successfully pass the benchmarking process against the baseline criteria are displayed on FEFAC’s customized page on Sustainability Map.

Relevant documents

- FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines (EN, ES, FR, DE, PT, NL)
- Communication toolkit Soy Sourcing Guidelines: Buy Guide ((16) PR 23), Factsheet ((16) PR 24), Q&A ((16) PR 25), Soy Solutions Brochure ((16) PR 26)
- FEFAC Generic ((15) PR 24) and individual ((15) PR 27) feedback to participants of public consultation on draft version
- Guidance document ITC benchmark
- The Feed Chain in Action – The Soy Sourcing Guidelines as a Bridge Builder ((15) PR 31)


The Guidelines aim to streamline the efforts from FEFAC member associations who have implemented or are supporting national industry action to foster a mainstream market supply of responsible soy to Europe. The Guidelines are not a new standard. They are designed to be used as a “filter” for an independent check on the validity of existing responsible soy programmes against the European feed industry minimum criteria.

A draft version of the Guidelines went through a public consultation process lasting from March to July 2015. Following the valuable contributions from the different types of stakeholders (retailers, responsible soy programme owners, soy value chain partners, NGOs), FEFAC added 5 essential and 3 desired criteria. The Guidelines are subject to volume-based continuous improvement, meaning they will be reviewed and upgraded when the minimum volume target of approximately 10 million tonnes is reached.

The release of the Soy Sourcing Guidelines saw an immediate uptake by responsible soy programme owners and as of July 2016, 12 programmes successfully passed the ITC benchmarking process. FEFAC members, participating soy programme owners and soy value chain partners noticed that the publication of the Soy Sourcing Guidelines has contributed to improved market transparency regarding responsible soy production in key exporting countries. In June 2016, the Consumer Goods Forum published the second version of their Soy Sourcing Guidelines, making reference to the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines as an important stepping stone to a supply chain with zero net deforestation. FEFAC will continue to engage with key supply chain partners and downstream market customers to facilitate the further alignment of their respective programmes and purchase guidance to the Soy Sourcing Guidelines.

FEFAC considers the publication of the Soy Sourcing Guidelines a long-term investment in the sustainable sourcing of key feed materials. Through the transparent benchmarking of existing responsible soy programmes, FEFAC is confident a market transformation can be realised, lifting responsible soy from the current niche, and create a physical commodity market.